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Photo: Sycamore Land Trust, McCalla’s Woods
McCalla’s Woods – Pam McCalla Addition

Photo: Sycamore Land Trust, McCalla’s Woods

The Pam McCalla property is a 65-acre addition to Sycamore’s current 119-acre McCalla’s Woods preserve, located in Orange County, Indiana, about 3 miles south of the county seat of Paoli and 90 miles south-southwest of Indianapolis. McCalla’s Woods provides upland forest habitat that is critical to species that rely on interior forest. Species on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Special Concern list which require interior forest include broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus), worm-eating warbler (Helmitheros vermivorum), black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia), hooded warbler (Setophaga citrina), and eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina).

Atira Conservation partnered with Sycamore Land Trust, located in Bloomington, Indiana, to acquire this property, which borders the existing McCalla’s Woods preserve on three sides. The addition fills in a large hole in the middle of the current preserve and increases its size by over 50%, to a total of 184 acres.

The purchase was time-critical as the property is in a convenient location along with relatively flat terrain making it desirable for residential development. Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources 10-year State Wildlife Action Plan (2015) highlights the importance of protecting more forested habitat in this Interior Plateau Region. Top conservation actions identified in the Action Plan include protecting large contiguous forested areas for Species of Greatest Conservation Need, limiting conversion of forests to non-forest land uses, protecting roost trees for bat species, and preserving currently existing corridors. Acquiring the property now ensures its protection as part of this critical habitat forever.

Property Cost: $236,588; Atira Conservation Funding: $25,000

Photo: Sycamore Land Trust, McCalla’s Woods